Liza Pulman Sings Streisand – ‘a wonderful cabaret performance’

London Theatre 1 – Live at Zedel – Crazy Coq’s  ★★★★


Of all the iconic divas that have graced the stage and recording studios, Barbra Streisand is probably one of, if not the most famous. With a career spanning over five decades, she has recorded nearly 40 albums, appeared in 18 films, won 8 Grammys and 3 Academy Awards. I could go on listing Streisand’s achievements but there are only so many hours in the day. This is one special lady and it takes a very talented performer to do justice to Streisand’s wide-ranging back catalogue and make them their own.

Luckily such a performer exists in the shape of Liza Pulman and I was lucky enough to get a taster of her show Liza Pulman Sings Streisand this week. The show isn’t a biographical documentary about Streisand’s life, nor is it Pulman doing an impression of the singer. It is a wonderful cabaret performance of some of Streisand’s songs. Some are instantly recognisable – ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’, ‘Memories’, ‘Evergreen’ etc – whilst others may be less well known.

For example ‘Miss Marmelstein’, which was Streisand’s solo number in her first musical ‘I Can Get It For You Wholesale’, and the wonderfully titled ‘Sam, You Made The Pants Too Long’. To be honest, familiarity with the songs is really unimportant – except for me not being able to sing along – because it is the skill and dexterity of the performance that matters.

Pulman obviously loves and admires Streisand and not only performs some fantastic musical numbers but, accompanied by her wonderful band, the Stardust Ensemble, under the control of MD, arranger, pianist and accordion player Joseph Atkins – produces a truly fine night of cabaret.

Pulman has a lovely personality and connects with her audience the moment she steps onto the stage. Although the show isn’t a full-blown biography, she does give background information on some of the songs and aspects of Streisand’s life so I ended up learning some interesting facts about the icon as well as hearing the wonderful music. I particularly liked the fact that Liza and Joseph weren’t just going for reproducing the Barbra Streisand sound – let’s be honest who could? Instead, they put their own spin on the songs so that it felt like Liza Pulman and Barbra Streisand were sharing them with each other. The highlight for me? Well, there were so many to choose from but I have to say ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ and the jaw-droppingly awesome performance of ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ which is not only one of my all time favourite songs but also brought the entire audience to their feet at the end.

I saw a slightly abridged showcase with twenty-one songs and enjoyed every minute. Liza Pulman and the Stardust Ensemble are performing the full Liza Pulman Sings Streisand show all over the country this year and my advice is, get your tickets booked, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

5 Star Rating   ★★★★

Review by Terry Eastham